eMMC memory computers and privacy warning....

  1. NavyLCDR's Avatar
    Posts : 15,589
    Windows 10 Pro
       #1

    eMMC memory computers and privacy warning....


    Stick computers, tablets and netbooks with eMMC memory (usually 16 or 32 GB) are becoming more popular. Normally when a computer dies you can remove the hard drive or SSD and either securely erase it or reuse it in another computer. That's not really possible with these devices with the eMMC memory. For example, I had a stick computer I was using as a home theater PC. Just out of the blue it gave up the ghost and would not power on. I sent it to the manufacturer for warranty replacement. But wait - all the contents of the 32GB eMMC memory were intact! Somebody really interested in retrieving that information could easily do so with the proper equipment.

    Just something to be aware of. If the device dies you can't erase that memory. You can encrypt it (I think) with bitlocker and Windows Pro. You can destroy the device instead of sending it in for repair/replacement. But without special equipment you can't easily erase the memory.
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  2. Posts : 487
       #2

    Hmm, it highlights the importance of FDE and why all devices should be encrypted by default. For those who have a mobile phone, tablet, compute stick, etc. that dies so the data can't be erased (and isn't protected by Full Device Encryption), I wonder what policies manufacturers have in place for items returned under warranty?

    If it's outside of the warranty period people have the option of physically destroying it themselves, however if it needs to be returned to the manufacturer under warranty, then I wonder what measures they take to protect the data that's on the devices? I wonder if they are obliged by law to physically destroy End-Of-Life devices with a mechanical shredding machine before they leave their premises to be recycled?

    It's one of the area's Microsoft have been lacking historically. IOS devices have been protected by FDE since IOS 8, whereas it was impossible to encrypt a Windows 8 Phone (unless you were an enterprise with something like MDM at your disposal). And on Desktop, Bitlocker needs an upgrade to Pro, which isn't cheap, and I doubt something like a compute stick will meet the hardware requirements for Device Encryption. Makes me cringe the amount of lost, stolen, sold on, disposed of, etc. devices that must me out there where the storage isn't protected.
    Last edited by ARC1020; 01 Aug 2016 at 14:54.
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